UBE Insists FCT Not Owing as Teachers Begin Indefinite Strike

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Olawale Ajimotokan

The Federal Capital Territory Universal Basic Education Board (FCT-UBEB), has denied owing teachers salaries, thus condemning the resolve of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), FCT chapter, to embark on an indefinite strike.

Executive Chairman, FCT UBE Board, Dr. Alhassan Sule, echoed this yesterday at a briefing, adding that the area councils’ chairmen should be blamed for the primary schoolsteachers’ strike.

Sule said they were surprised to receive a letter from the NUT secretariat with the information that they gave a directive to all teachers in the primary school sector not to resume yesterday.

He said all teachers under the payroll of FCT Administration were paid in December last year, while at the local government level, they were able to implement promotions, although the issue of arrears became a problem.

“I could remember that in December, NUT and the local government had an agreement to suspend their strike based on the agreement that they are going to have a roundtable to discuss the template on how they are going to implement the arrears.

“I believe that what the area councils did by not inviting the NUT to a roundtable discussion is one of the reasons why they decided to go back to strike,” he said.

He attributed the non-payment of the teachers’ salaries to a friction between the LEA secretaries and their chairmen on the employment of teachers.

On his part, the FCT NUT chairman, Comrade Stephen Knabayi, said although the payment of teachers’ salaries in LEA schools had been prompt and treated as a first line charge, NUT directed that schools in the six area councils must be shut down with effect from yesterday, because of outstanding promotion arrears, non-payment of the arrears of the new national minimum wage in addition to some months of annual increment in some LEAs.

He said this happened after several meetings and failure to reach a consensus on their demand that the template be produced and endorsed by both parties on how the arrears of teachers would be paid on monthly basis.

He, however, commended the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, for her role in ensuring that the arrears were paid.